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Differences between PIM, ERP & CRM

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You want to solve this once and for all: what do all those marketing acronyms mean? Are you sure you are going to hire the best software if you only know them by three letters?

Of course not! And the Internet can lead you to some misunderstandings, as an acronym can refer to different meaning at the same time.

Here you will find a concise guide to some of the most important pieces of your marketing puzzle: PIM vs. ERP, PIM vs. CMS, and ERP vs. CRM.

Don’t worry, by the end of this you will find it easier than saying Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious!

What’s the difference between PIM vs. ERP?

First of all, any business or retailer that sells through several online and/or offline channels needs a PIM system. And a PIM system stands for Product Information Management or Product Information Manager: a kind of software that helps you organize all the product information and additional content (like media assets), enrich it, find mistakes and omissions, send it to all the channels at the same time, make changes in real time, connect it to e-commerce platforms, marketplaces and catalog design programs, import and export spreadsheets, and simply updating and synchronizing everything in real time and in an automated way.

It sounds like magic, but it is PIM. Now, where does the PIM collect all that information about your products and your company organization? From the ERP: the core of your business. An ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is the central system where a company archives everything, and it fuels all the software systems that need information and streamlines all the company’s processes. The ERP holds a central database that can be shared with any other system that supports other functions, like Customer Service, Sales, Manufacture, Accounting, Human Resources, or PIM. Besides, sometimes not all product information is contained in the ERP, and the PIM system is essential to expand this type of content with media assets, product descriptions or marketing materials.

As you see, a fight like PIM vs. ERP doesn’t make any sense, as both things are essential to any business. But first you will need to have a strong and solid ERP that could be connected to any software you’d like, like a PIM system.

Read more: How to choose the perfect PIM system 

What’s the difference between PIM vs. CMS?

This difference is a trickier one, as CMS stands for Content Management System. At a first glance, it doesn’t seem to be a great difference in PIM vs. CMS, but if we pay attention to their functions we will see how different they really are.

A CMS is a tool used by companies to connect their content to a website or e-commerce platform. Yes, it has more capabilities like workflow systems, synchronization and personalization for target customers, but note that the main goal of a CMS is to connect or send the content.

As we have seen before, a PIM system goes beyond that, as it enriches the product information and make it perfect and accurate for each channel, including a website. As a result, PIM vs. CMS is another futile fight, because both systems can be useful for a company and the PIM software can be integrated with the CMS to automate the updates and changes made to any website content.

Read more: Top CMS for your online catalogs

What’s the difference between ERP and CRM?

This should be crystal clear! You already know that an ERP is the central storage of a company’s data, and CRM has nothing to do with that: it stands for Customer Relationship Management.

ERP vs. CRM is also a vain discussion as they are not mutually exclusive choices for a retail company. The ERP is vital for any business, but also is CRM, as the customers are the foundation of any company’s benefits.

The main difference between ERP and CRM is that a CRM system handles all the communications with clients and customer information: customer data, sales tracking and customer service. When a company begins to grow and it needs more conversion, a CRM helps to automate leads and transform visitors into real customers, besides from keeping old customers and trying to get back the ones that disappeared. With a CRM system you can automate your marketing efforts when replying to customers, apply geolocation functions for  an improved service, and interconnect website, email, telephone and social media.

Can a CRM be integrated with the ERP? Yes, as it will work with the customer lifecycle and the CRM system will need to know the internal processes, calendars and workflows of the company. CRM to ERP integration means that the Customer Relationship Management system can get access to previous company’s data and simplify some processes like adding new customers data, instead of sending it from Customer Service to other department like Accounting, and then someone from Accounting uploading it to the ERP. CRM can be integrated with ERP just if the company’s needs are studied in advance and it’s clear what kind of integration must be handled.

Read more: How to improve customer satisfaction and UX

We hope this brief guide has shed some light on this subject, and if you still have problems with other acronyms we are here to clarify everything about your e-commerce marketing tools, as PIM could also stand for Problem Inhibitor Manager!

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